Las Vegas, Nevada (Oct. 5, 2010)—Las Vegas’ golf history runs very deep. And a little piece of that history came back to Las Vegas recently when Gloria Ehret teed it up at Las Vegas National Golf Club. Don’t know the name Gloria Ehret? You should.—by Bill Bowman
Ehret, who turned 69 on August 23, turned professional in 1965 and finished fifth on the LPGA’s money list her rookie year. But it was 1966 where she made her mark, winning the LPGA Championship (now the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans) by three strokes over Mickey Wright. Ehret was the only player under par at the Stardust Country Club (now Las Vegas National). She would go on to post one other individual LPGA victory, the 1973 Birmingham Classic (she also teamed up with Judy Kimball to win the 1965 LPGA Yankee Women’s Open). Her top year on tour was 1978 where she earned $42,470.60, good enough for 22nd place on the money list, but it will be her $2,475 payday in Las Vegas from a purse of $16,5000 that put her on the professional golf map.
She was welcomed back to Las Vegas National recently where she played. “She had a nice trip down memory lane,” said Vic Wilk, the former Director of Golf at Las Vegas National who is leaving to join the Butch Harmon School of Golf. “We put out a special sign welcoming her back to Las Vegas National. We put her name on there as the 1966 LPGA champion and we had pictures of her throughout the clubhouse. She teared up a couple of times. It was amazing.” Ehret also toured the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame on site at Las Vegas National and said she wants to donate a golf bag she received at an LPGA reunion she attended to the Hall of Fame. The bag has been signed by dozens of former LPGA winners. “She asked if we would like to display the bag and we jumped at the chance,” Wilk said. Wilk also photographed her swing and showed it to her in high-def. “She’s fit and swung the club very well,” Wilk said. “She presented herself like a Tour player.”
Las Vegas National Golf Club, along with Rio Secco Golf Club and Cascata, are operated by the Harrah’s Golf Management Group. Las Vegas National has been the home to various professional golf tournaments and Tiger Woods played here the year he won his first professional tournament. Other pros who have played here and won included Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Mickey Wright and a host of others. It’s also been the site of celebrity sightings galore over the years with the likes to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and many others teeing it up. Las Vegas National is one of more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses that attract thousands of players to tee it up in Las Vegas every year.